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TheLevisaLazer.com - Regional News

DixonDixonCouncil member files for Louisa mayor...

  Louisa City Council member Raymond Dixon made good on his promise  to run for Mayor of Louisa against incumbent Teddy Preston Thursday afternoon according to County Clerk Chris Jobe. Jobe said Dixon picked up the necessary papers Wednesday and brought them back and filed yesterday about 3:00 pm. Dixon is a progressive council member who avidly supports fire and police protection in the city. He is employed at the U.S. Federal prison in Ashland. The Lazer will report Dixon's statement as soon as possible.  --Editor

City Council to seek slight raise in wholesale water rates; Budget on hold...

Louisa Mayor Teddy PrestonLouisa Mayor Teddy Preston


Louisa mayor signs up to run for 4th term;

Mayor Teddy Preston has had his ups and downs during the past four years including medical issues and difficulties dealing with some members of the City Council. Under the mayor's leadership the city annexed the Rt. 23 end of the town.

But County Clerk Chris Jobe said Friday that Preston registered Thursday to run for the office he has held for at least three terms.

One Louisa citizen, James Ferrell, of Locke Ave. has already registered for the position and others are reportedly thinking it over.

Candidates, including school board members and city council Louisa members have until 4:00 pm August 12 to sign up. Jobe said no other candidates have filed. The deadline has also passed for independent candidates to register.

Jobe said there be no Blaine election this year. "I just don't have any information and the state doesn't, either," Jobe said. "We don't have any candidates and they've (city government) been down for over a year, I think. So I guess they just aren't going to be on the docket unless some of the people there step up."

City has meeting - finally

From left, council members Brad Stark, John Nolan and Gloria JohnsonFrom left, council members Brad Stark, John Nolan and Gloria Johnson

By Elizabeth Moore

After having to reschedule at least two times Louisa City Council met for a special meeting on Thursday July 17, 2014.   Mayor Teddy Preston called the meeting to order.  He stated that since it was a special meeting that only what was on the agenda would be addressed.   

The first item on the agenda was Discussion and Amendment to Ordinance 12-04," ordinance to establishing a Board of Parks, Playground, Recreation, and Leisure."   

City Attorney Bud Adams stated, "I hate to admit it, but, that was my error on the Board, because the ordinance provided to have a three person Board, one of whom would be a city council member. The way I had that drafted and didn't catch it when I proof read it, it would really be set up for four people."   

Preston explained that Sandy Stark, the Chairperson for the Board, had reminded him that on page one it looked like there should be three and on page two it looks like there should be four.   

Adams reiterated again that it was his mistake. Adams let the Council know that there is already three people that had been appointed to the Board.    Council Member, Brad Stark, suggested that it be made a four person Board. Adams agreed to amend the Ordinance for a four person Board. Gloria Johnson made the motion to amend the Ordinance to a four person Board and Lisa Schaeffer second it and all were in favor.   

Sandy Stark, Chairperson of the Board of Parks, Playground, Recreation, and Leisure was given the floor to give report. She gave the Council a list of questions that will be gone over with city pool manager Erin Evans as to how the pool runs. She explained that the Board knows that it is just an advisory Board and went on to say that the Board wants everyone to work together to make Louisa a better community.

A list of all city parks were requested along with all activities that are upcoming.    

City Clerk Kathy Compton let the Council know that the Tourism Department donated $3,000 and the County $1,000 for the 4th of July fireworks.   

Chief Greg Fugitt of the Louisa Police Department gave his report for the month of June. There were 96 Citations, 24 arrest, and 342 "911" calls. Fugitt explained that everything was going good. "We have the two new officers that have finished the academy that are working assignments on their own. They are doing field training," Fugitt said.

The turn lane by the Louisa West Elementary is almost done and the state has a request for the City. They are asking that the City to purchase a sign that says "No Left Turn" coming out of the school. 

Eddie Preston was not present to give the Louisa Fire Department's report.   

Greg Slone from the Louisa Streets and Sanitation gave his report and explained that everything is running smooth. He said that he has one on vacation and that he had to take the residential truck driver and put him on the commercial truck because there are no other CDL drivers. He went on to state that one of the men that work on the streets is going to get his CDL so that there won't be this problem in the future. Normal cutting grass did not happen this week because of the trash pick up.  

Mayor Preston stated that there needed to be more to go get CDL's so that this would not be a problem later on.   

Water and sewer director David McGuireWater and sewer director David McGuireDirector of Louisa Water and Sewer, David McGuire was present to discuss the wholesale Water Rates.

"We had an inspection this week from the Division of Water and it is time to get our tanks inspected. They are supposed to be inspected every five years. We are a little bit over," McGuire said. 

He went on to explain that there is a company that will come in and do an ROV inspection of the inside of the tanks without shutting them down. This will cost a little over $5,000. This is for all the tanks and can be done in one day.   

Also, McGuire went on to state that the Microcom contract has expired and it really needs to be redone which will cost over $5,000 as well.  He said that a representative of Jim Booth contacted him about Levisa Lane expansion. The contact wanted to make sure that they would be able to connect to the water and sewer. Water clerk Beth Greene let the Council know that there is money on hand for both needs.     

Council Member Brad Stark requested that McGuire bring proposals from other companies so that council could take a look at them and make sure that the City is getting the best price. Stark explained that the Council would support this once they had a chance to review all the proposals and that there is funds to cover it. Stark made the motion to pay for the inspection and John Nolan seconded it with all in favor.    

McGuire informed the Council that the contract with Microcom was important because the telemetry talks to the pump. The contract expired a year ago. This summer alone, there has been two different times that lightening has struck and the city has spent over $8,000 in parts.  

"With the contract the parts are considerably cheaper. Due the tanks having Mirocom parts they are who a contract would have to be with," McGuire said.   

Provided there is money to renew the contract, Gloria Johnson made the motion and John Nolan made the second and all were in favor.   

Wholesale water rates was put on the agenda upon Adams request.

"I want to get authority from Council to approach Big Sandy Water, Inc. to ask for a dime or nickle increase on the wholesale rates," Bud Adams said.  Brad Stark asked that they ask for a $0.15 increase and questioned the contract that they were under. 

AdamsAdamsAdams explained that even if Big Sandy Water agrees on the increase,  the change would still have to go through the PSC.   There was also discussion on making a new contract with them since the current contract is for maximum amount of 500 thousand gallons and Big Sandy is purchasing 93 million gallons.

Adams conceded in a letter to council members last week that "a small raise in the wholesale price is needed, but he said it is essential the city keep the BSW business. "They buy about 20% of the water we sell," Adams said. He also said the company could switch to another water source.  Presently the city is charging BSW $1.61 per thousand gallons while it costs just over $4 to produce.

Stark made a motion for Adams to proceed to ask for a $0.15 increase per gallon that is provided to Big Sandy Water and John Nolan made a second. All were in favor.   

Next on the agenda was the Personnel policy.  

Compton requested that all department heads give her their personnel policies.  Stark requested that all policies be given to council members so that they can read over them and make notes and have a special meeting for just the Personal Policies.

The council decided that would be a good idea.   Gloria Johnson made a motion to table the Budget until the Personnel Policies are finished. Brad Stark second. Johnson made the same motion for the Water and Sewer Budget as well and Stark second it. Everyone was in favor.  

Adams informed the Council that there were two brief items to discuss in Executive Session on pending litigation and a possible litigation. Johnson made a motion to come out of Executive session Stark made a second.    

Adams explained that no action was taken on the pending and possible litigation.  Johnson made a motion to adjorn and Stark second with all in favor.

 

by Mark Grayson and Elizabeth Moore


Lawrence Co. company gets $92,000 grant for metal roofing business;

Kentucky Power provides $200K in grants to spur economic development in eastern Ky....

 

PIKEVILLE, KY – Kentucky Power has awarded $200,000 in grants to three local entities in an effort to spur economic development in Eastern Kentucky.  The grants were awarded this month as part of the company’s Kentucky Power Economic Advancement Program (KEAP) through which the company has committed to provide $1 million to stimulate economic development over the next five years.

“The implementation of KEAP stems from our agreement with the Kentucky Public Service Commission and other interveners to provide economic development assistance to our service area.  It is a beneficial result of last year’s stipulated agreement to transfer generating assets to Kentucky Power,” said Brad Hall, external affairs manager for Kentucky Power and the company’s economic development lead.  “It is a competitive grant program that is meant to assist with the funding of economic development projects that promote the creation and retention of manufacturing and/or industrial investment and jobs,” he said.

“The funds used in the program are those of AEP shareholders and not Kentucky Power ratepayers.  It is provided by the company to these deserving organizations and will not be charged back to our customers,” Hall explained. “They are solely meant to foster development in our area.”

The KEAP program is specific to seven counties in Kentucky Power’s service area – Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Johnson, Martin and Morgan.  The grants must be used for programs and projects such as job retention, expansion surveys, wage and benefit surveys; retaining and attracting new industries, and conducting special studies.

The recipients of this year’s grants are:

Big Sandy Area Development District:  The development district will receive $8,000 for advanced economic training for three individuals from all three local area development district offices: Big Sandy ADD; FiveCo ADD and Gateway ADD.  The training is part of the Certified Economic Developer Program through the University of Oklahoma.

City of Paintsville:  The city was awarded $100,000 to further develop and enhance the Teays Branch economic development site at 120 Scott Perry Drive.  The funds will be used primarily to facilitate the construction of adequate parking space to better market the site for potential development.

Louisa Chapter Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce: The chapter was awarded $92,000 to assist in the development of an upstart business – a metal, roofing and building-supply company – based in Louisa that is expected to have a near-term benefit of 10-20 new, skilled labor positions.

Louisa entrepreneur Jimmy Marcum of Louisa Construction of American Premium Metal Roofing,  will build a plant to produce metal buildings and other materials. He will get the $92,000 to help with his start-up.

All grant applications were reviewed by a committee that was comprised of five members – three Kentucky Power employees and two outside, economic development professionals. The outside professionals represented the Kentucky Association of Economic Development and Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet.

“We were pleased with the number of quality applications we received this year,” said Hall.  “It was difficult for the committee to finalize and make its recommendations, but in the end, the recipients are the ones judged to have the best, or perhaps most immediate, impact on area development.  We encourage those who applied this year -- and others who did not -- to submit applications again next year and the years to follow.  We appreciate the efforts of all those involved in the KEAP process and all those who submitted applications in hopes of furthering economic development.”

“Kentucky Power is fully engaged in economic development in Eastern Kentucky,” said Greg Pauley, president and chief operating officer of Kentucky Power.  “We are doing all we can to assist in the development of our region and in adding meaningful, sustainable and good paying jobs.  Through KEAP, and other programs, we are striving to be a partner for progress in the area we serve,” he said.

Kentucky Power is an operating unit of American Electric Power and provides electricity to approximately 171,000 customers in all or parts of 20 Eastern Kentucky counties. The company is headquartered in Frankfort and has major operating facilities in Ashland, Hazard, Louisa and Pikeville.

 

SOAR seminars held throughout the region; Paramount hosts session on Arts and Heritage Tourism... 
 

By Catrina Vargo

Ashland, KY -- Several SOAR Listening Sessions are being held this month throughout eastern Kentucky on a variety of topics dealing with tourism as a means to build economic development in the region.

Paramount Arts Center Director, Bruce Marquis, makes suggestions to Phil Osborne, Presenter of SOAR Listening SessionParamount Arts Center Director, Bruce Marquis, makes suggestions to Phil Osborne, Presenter of SOAR Listening SessionShaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) is an initiative started by Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear as an attempt to build the existing economy, to grow and diversify the region.

SOAR is comprised of ten working groups who meet with the entire Appalachian Region of Kentucky, all 54 counties, not just the district represented by Congressman Rogers.  Sessions are open to the public, inviting people to share their ideas, concerns, and suggestions as to how to build the economy.

Information from all sessions are collected and will be related to the SOAR Executive Committee, who along with Governor Beshear and Congressman Rogers, will collaborate on plans to accomplish an economic program that is lasting and sustaining.

A session on Arts and Heritage Tourism was held Tuesday, July 15, at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, KY, presented by Phil Osborne of Osborne and Associates, a Public Relations firm in Lexington.  

The session began with Osborne asking those in attendance what their ideas were as far a tourism.  Bruce Marquis, new Director of the Paramount Arts Center, is from Bloomington, Illinois, and said one thing he noticed is that the riverfront is not being utilized as much as it should be.

"From the river, you just see the back of buildings."  He said there is a lot of opportunity there. He also suggested that downtown areas could add more arts and culture. Another observation was that old  buildings are often hidden behind new facades. "They are a historical asset and their architecture should be revealed."  He said there are grants just for that purpose.

Someone suggested that towns explore a 'Main Street' program which focuses on revitalizing downtown areas.

Osborne said a town or city can be marketed as a specific destination such as arts and crafts, music, performing arts, or recreational, just to mention a few.  The idea is to play up what you already have in your area and market it as such.

Osborne said that one of the missions of SOAR is to improve transportation and technology, especially broadband communication which is still not up to speed with the rest of the state.

Heritage Tourism was explained at the session, and is perhaps an area that is being overlooked. 

"Every town has a story," said Mandilyn Hart, Executive Director of The Center for Appalachian Philanthropy.  This concept involves telling the story through performing arts such as theater. Hart said there is a facility in Lewis County that teaches community performance.  She also suggested connecting with other communities to see what is working for them and learn from each other. She said there is a real opportunity to capitalize on culture.

Another suggestion from the audience was that the area lakes need to increase their activities to include jet ski, paddle boat, Jon boat, kayak and canoe rentals, not just pontoons and houseboats.  One example was that of Greenbo Lake in Greenup Co, which started offering scuba diving a couple years ago.  

Hart said that asset mapping is also very helpful when planning tourism projects.  Asset mapping is listing and pinpointing all of an areas assets and where they are in relation to each other, determining how to best connect them logistically.

Osborne noted a problem of the small mom and pop places where the owners are retiring and the children aren't interested in carrying on the business.  He said interested parties need to be found to invest in those opportunities.

Everyone agreed that eastern Kentucky's waterways need to be utilized more. "We have the most navigable waterways other than Florida" said Osborne.  

Other things mentioned at the session included offering tax incentives and revolving loans to incoming businesses and re-training the existing workforce.  Osborne said back in the 60's workers went to where the jobs are.  Now, companies want to locate where the workers are.

"They have to be re-trained" he said.  Someone else commented that incoming businesses will employ workers here, but their upper management people who will locate here want to live in a place where there is good restaurants, a wide variety of places to shop, culture, recreation, good school systems and health care facilities.

The purpose of SOAR is to enhance and expand the economy of eastern Kentucky and to overcome the declining coal industry.  "Tourism is a high priority of SOAR, and has the full support of the Kentucky State Tourism Cabinet" Osborne said.  

Brainstorming Sessions in which ideas will be voted on by the SOAR Executive Committee will be held Tuesday, Aug.12 in Pikeville, Thursday, Aug. 14 in Jamestown, Tuesday, Aug. 19 at Slade and Thursday, Aug. 21 in Grayson.

Hart announced that there will be a 'Capitalizing on Culture' seminar Aug 1-2 at the Expo Center in Pikeville, KY.

For more information on SOAR, contact Phillip Osborne at 859-227-3663 or email posborne@preston.com

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